Skip to main content

Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

See other formats

38                            BYZANTINE CHURCHES                         CHAP.
of the building during the Latin occupation the roof had fallen in, the cells of the monks had disappeared5 and sheep grazed undisturbed on the grass which covered the grounds. Constantine, rich, generous, fond of popularity, did all in his power to restore the former glory of the venerated shrine. The new roof was a remarkable piece of work ; large sums were spent upon the proper accommodation of the monks, and the grounds were enclosed within strong walls.1
Like other monastic institutions, the Studion suffered greatly at the hands of the iconoclast emperors. Under Constantine Copronymus, indeed, the fraternity was scattered to the winds and practically suppressed, so that only twelve old members of the House were able to take advantage of the permission to return to their former home, upon the first restoration of eikons in 787 by the Empress Irene* Under these circumstances a company of monks, with the famous abbot Theodore at their head, were eventually brought from the monastery of Saccudio to repeople the Studion, and with their advent In 799 the great era in the history of the House began, the number of the monks rising to seven hundred, if not one thousand.2
Theodore had already established a great reputation for sanctity and moral courage. For when Constantine VI. repudiated the Empress Maria and married Theodote, one of her maids of honour, Theodore, though the new empress was his relative, denounced the marriage and the priest who had celebrated it, insisting that moral principles should govern the highest and lowest alike, and for this action he had gladly endured scourging and exile. The Studion had, therefore, a master who feared the face of no man, and who counted the most terrible sufferings as the small dust of the balance when weighed against righteousness, and under him the House became illustrious for Its resistance to the tyranny of the civil power in matters affecting faith and morals. When the Emperor Nicephorus ordered the restoration of
1  Nicephorus Gregoras, i. p. 190 ; Stephen of Novgorod, who saw the church in 1350, refers to its 'very lofty roof/ Itin. russes, p. 123.
2  Theoph. p. 747 ; Life ofS, Theodore, Migne, P.G, tome 99.